PENDLETON - The Eastern Oregon Alcoholism Foundation is naming a new women's transition home "Rusty's House," after board member Rusty Fisher.

Bob Wright, EOAF executive director, said Fisher was the driving force for creation of the transition house for women.

"It was her vision. It was her passion," Wright said.

"Rusty's House" will give a temporary home for women who have graduated from substance abuse treatment - and their children, as well - so they can continue turning their lives around.

It will help women who don't have a good place to live after they complete residential substance abuse treatment, Wright said.

"Many times, they've come out of an abusive relationship, or a relationship where another person in the household is struggling with their own addiction, using and abusing drugs or alcohol," he said.

Returning to that sort of environment can trigger a relapse, Wright added.

For many people, even those who aren't facing such problems, a transition home can offer more support than returning into the general public.

"Rusty's House" will begin serving clients in two to three weeks, and an open house should be held in about two months.

The seven-bedroom home was recently purchased, and remodeling still is being done.

It will be able to provide housing for six women and their children, who will stay there in six- to nine-month stints. An in-house EOAF counselor also will stay at Rusty's House.

The women will become re-established in the community, working, attending treatment, possible attending school at Blue Mountain Community College, and developing a healthy social life.

Funding for the project was provided by the Oregon Housing and Community Services Department and the Office of Mental Health and Addictions.

A grant from the Pendleton Foundation will help furnish the house.

A deed to the house states it can be used for 40 years for women in recovery from addiction without other housing options. The EOAF has had a men's transition house since 1998.

During 2002, 84 women and 93 men participated in the residential treatment programs offered by the EOAF, and 26 children stayed with their recovering parents.

Currently, 15 men and14 women, along with eight children, are receiving residential treatment from the EOAF.

Fisher, who also has been a solid United Way volunteer, is hospitalized and fighting cancer.

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